Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Please be patient. God isn't finished with me yet.

Is anyone reading this blog? Hard to say. I'm still getting the hang of blogging and figuring out how everything works.

I am enjoying discovering new blogs through links from blogs where I already read/post and my list of blogs on favorites seems to be increasing every day. I enjoy being challenged to think and examine what I truly believe, although coming up with a thoughtful reply can mean some near sleepless nights. And sometimes what I intend to post and what I end up posting can be two different things. What I've discovered is blogging is an invitation to interact with others on varying levels. This might end up as a grand adventure or one heckofa mess.........I reckon time will tell.

In the meanwhile, if you're out there, I hope I haven't bored you to tears.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Much ado about stuff and such..........

Maybe that's what this blog is really all about after all. Meandering here and there through cyber-space and taking in the sights. I've kept written journals in the past, but I've never felt terribly comfortable with spilling my guts for the entire world to see. But maybe, just maybe that's about to change. I'm reading historical books and becoming profoundly disturbed about the trends I'm seeing in American and world politics. I'm even more disturbed about the trends I'm seeing in the Church. I'm not entirely sold on "old time religion", but post-modern "Christianity" gives me the willies more and more. It would be nice if I could just go buy an island and let all this nonsense pass me by, but unfortunately there's not much I can do about being stuck on this planet.

BTW, have you ever wondered why God insisted upon humanity spreading out across the entire planet instead of staying in a huge metropolitian cluster? Could it be because He understands human nature far better than we do, including our desires to meddle where we don't belong and lord it over each other? Think about it........forcing humanity to spread out effectively limits the amount of power any earthy king/tyrant has to enslave a population and start wars, at least before the advent of aircraft carriers and H-bombs. Even the mighty Roman Empire fell when it overextended its reach and could no longer physically or financially support its military and infustructure. Ever wondered what our world would be like now if Archemedes's prototype of an early computer hadn't ended up at the bottom of the Aegan Sea 2000+ years ago? Start imagining Shakespeare's plays and sonnets having been written on a laptop instead of a quill and ink and let your mind go from there.

But that's just me..........thinking on such things that I dare not examine too closely 'less I scare myself half to death. :(

Friday, August 24, 2007

Driving with Dead People........

For those of you whom are scratching their heads over this title, let me assure you it's a book title, not my latest hobby. "Driving With Dead People" is a book written by Monica Holloway, a woman about 10 years younger than me who grew up in the same towns I did. Names of people, major roads, and places have been thinly disguised, but remain quite recognizable to those familiar with the locale.

In all seriousness, I have to confess I read part of the book at our local Borders, but didn't buy it. Not that it's not good, but because I'm going to have to wrap my head around the idea of buying and finishing it. Not because the book doesn't have a happy ending, because it does, just not the kind of ending you necessarily think of as being happy. Yet if any book that drags into the hot blazing sun that which thrives best in the dark can have a happy ending, this one does. To put it bluntly, this is a book about dirty little family secrets in a small Mid-Western town known for being mean.........where a high school basketball coach once received death threats because he couldn't make a winning team out of farm boys with a lot of heart, but little natural talent. And its about putting the title of child rapist and the words depraved indifference on the faces of people I might well have sat beside in church thirty years ago. And it's about adding yet another name to "the list". It's about a demonic sickness/evil I do not understand and thank God I didn't have to endure. It's about healing that some eventually find, but illudes others. I know I'll buy and read it eventually. I'll probably pass it along to my sister too. But not yet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

25% of Americans read no books last year?

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer Tue Aug 21, 1:58 PM ET (As posted on Yahoo! News)

WASHINGTON - There it sits on your night stand, that book you've meant to read for who knows how long but haven't yet cracked open. Tonight, as you feel its stare from beneath that teetering pile of magazines, know one thing — you are not alone.

One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn't read any, the usual number read was seven.
"I just get sleepy when I read," said Richard Bustos of Dallas, a habit with which millions of Americans can doubtless identify. Bustos, a 34-year-old project manager for a telecommunications company, said he had not read any books in the last year and would rather spend time in his backyard pool.

That choice by Bustos and others is reflected in book sales, which have been flat in recent years and are expected to stay that way indefinitely. Analysts attribute the listlessness to competition from the Internet and other media, the unsteady economy and a well-established industry with limited opportunities for expansion.

When the Gallup poll asked in 2005 how many books people had at least started — a similar but not directly comparable question — the typical answer was five. That was down from 10 in 1999, but close to the 1990 response of six.

In 2004, a National Endowment for the Arts report titled "Reading at Risk" found only 57 percent of American adults had read a book in 2002, a four percentage point drop in a decade. The study faulted television, movies and the Internet.

Who are the 27 percent of people the AP-Ipsos poll found hadn't read a single book this year? Nearly a third of men and a quarter of women fit that category. They tend to be older, less educated, lower income, minorities, from rural areas and less religious.
At the same time, book enthusiasts abound. Many in the survey reported reading dozens of books and said they couldn't do without them.

"I go into another world when I read," said Charlotte Fuller, 64, a retired nurse from Seminole, Fla., who said she read 70 books in the last year. "I read so many sometimes I get the stories mixed up."

Among those who said they had read books, the median figure — with half reading more, half fewer — was nine books for women and five for men. The figures also indicated that those with college degrees read the most, and people aged 50 and up read more than those who are younger.

Pollyann Baird, 84, a retired school librarian in Loveland, Colo., says J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter fantasy series is her favorite. But she has forced herself to not read the latest and final installment, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," because she has yet to file her income taxes this year due to an illness and worries that once she started the book, "I know I'd have to finish it."

People from the South read a bit more than those from other regions, mostly religious books and romance novels. Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics, and those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently.
There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.

The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. Popular fiction, histories, biographies and mysteries were all cited by about half, while one in five read romance novels. Every other genre — including politics, poetry and classical literature — were named by fewer than five percent of readers.

More women than men read every major category of books except for history and biography. Industry experts said that confirms their observation that men tend to prefer nonfiction.
"Fiction just doesn't interest me," said Bob Ryan, 41, who works for a construction company in Guntersville, Ala. "If I'm going to get a story, I'll get a movie."

Those likeliest to read religious books included older and married women, lower earners, minorities, lesser educated people, Southerners, rural residents, Republicans and conservatives.
The publishing business totaled $35.7 billion in global sales last year, 3 percent more than the previous year, according to the Book Industry Study Group, a trade association. About 3.1 billion books were sold, an increase of less than 1 percent.

The AP-Ipsos poll was conducted from August 6 to 8 and involved telephone interviews with 1,003 adults. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

CR's commentary: I read a few months ago that a huge percentage of Americans didn't own a single book, not even a Bible. I would guess that having the internet at one's fingertips means people are no longer having to "hit the books" for imformation or amusement.

revised for corrections..........

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Musical musings.............

Lately the Mr. and I have been getting into Celtic music. I think this is in part in response to the sameness of current popular music and partly because we are simply partial to music that doesn't blast our eardrums and consists of more than someone playing three chords on a guitar and a screeching vocalist. It doesn't hurt that I have a few drops of Irish blood floating around in my veins too. ;)

Some of our current favorites:

The Poozies
Cherish The Ladies
The Corrs
Gaelic Storm
Finvarra's Wren

Gaelic Storm may be the most popular Irish Pop band you've never heard. If the name does sound vaguely familiar, it could be because the group had a role in the movie Titanic. They've had various personnel changes in the eight years of the band's existence, but hearing the CDs from previous years and recent ones, performances haven't suffered much from one incarnation to the next. Trust me, these guys and the gal fiddle player have groupies! I never expected bagpipes (Peter Purvis) to sound so ethereal, never having heard them played in anything but funeral processions or the classic "Amazing Grace". Jesse Burns is also one of the most amazing fiddle players you will ever hear. Gaelic Storm has a concert DVD out and you can do far, far worse for a evening's entertainment. However be forewarned that this is secular music and some of the songs and humor are a bit off color.

Finvarra's Wren is composed of a family (and friends) of very talented musician/singers. Allison Perkins is yet another outstanding fiddle player and her 17 year old brother Asher is no slouch on the button accordian and concertina. Both have won Celtic music competitions here in the U.S. and have performed well in European competitions as well. Siobhan McKinney who occasionally accompanies the group on the harp is also a competition winner. Jim Perkins and his wife Cheryl are the main singers for the group and their voices blend beautifully. Terrance McKinney is also very accomplished on uillean pipes, a close cousin of the bagpipes. Again this is a secular band and some of the songs are a bit baudy in nature, but fairly typical of a somewhat more traditional Irish band. Jim and Cheryl are also very personable off stage as well as on. Cheryl generously spent a good bit of time talking "mountain dulcimer" with my husband after the recent concert, as they share a common passion for the unique instrument

I'll be adding more to this entry later.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Feeling tired.............

“If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”- Romans 14:8

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Howling at the blue moon...............

I've been visiting various blogs in recent weeks and I've finally figured something out. People enjoy reading blogs when the bloggers don't take themselves seriously and the blogs are FUN to read. That doesn't mean they don't cover serious topics or constantly play the goofball, (Trust me, that gets really annoying after a while.), but that they can laugh at themselves and the sheer absurdities of life. I mean, how can you not love someone who is willing to show a photo of themselves looking like a scraggly accordian player who's been booted off the turnip truck? Who knows, maybe I'll go hunt up and post that 29 year old pic of me that my husband has dubbed "The Flying Nut", taken on our wedding day no less. A lot of people seem bent on living in misery (and making others miserable as well) when there's no need for it.......and I'm not going to be one of them. So I've decided I'm going to post here wherever I feel like posting, even if the joke's on me! As a wise man once said, "Life's too short to not have any fun!"

BTW, in my seven years online, I've used a lot of post names. Not for purposes of trolling, mind you, but for fun and to keep freaks from following me from messageboard to messageboard throughout cyber-space. Sometimes I play at "the royal connection", sometimes I go serious, and sometimes just plain goofy. I've enjoyed the royal goofy names the best. Sometimes I fancy myself as the decendant of knights and kings, but then apparently many, many Americans are distantly related to European royals. When someone did the late president Ronald Reagan's geneology, it turned out he was a very distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. But although I may play at royalty in cyberspace and get a kick out of being called Your Majesty and Your Grace, I can't think of a single legit reason why I've ever wish to trade being a regular ole' American for a royal title. For one thing, castles are too hard and expensive to keep up and people tend to get mad if you tax them too much. Plus no matter how good or bad you are as a ruler, there's always people with greedy fingers and delusions of grandeur are wanting to knock you off and take your place.....and they breed.

Anywho, that's all the insanity I'm going to inflict on you today. Have a simply awesome, splendiferous day! :))